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Patricia Barlow-Irick

This is a great post... gives you something to think about. I treasure your description of breaking!

But.... I don't totally agree. Here is my opinion. In a perfect world we all would have infinite time and resources to devote to our beloved equines. We could pay $900/month for equine education enrichment, but here on this planet, most of us can't pay that kind of money for our own kids, much less our horses. It's not just a matter if you want the best for your critter, its the compromise with reality about what is possible. That doesn't, however, mean you have to hard break a horse.

If you have the money to afford it, it's something you can feel good about. If you have to choose a faster option, it isn't a bad thing. It's when you have to get that piece of horseflesh you bought at the sale barn last week ready to go in the ThriftyNickle next week so you can churn a little postive cash flow, then it gets really really ugly. Poor pony!!!

Tucker is a lucky pony, indeed.

Patricia Barlow-Irick

No, I just realized in re-reading your post that we are in total agreement.

I love your blog!


I thought I'd commented on this post already. The cybergoblins must have eatten it.

I totally agree that bad horse trainers keep good ones in business. It's just to bad the horse is the one that pays the price for the bad ones. Saw a couple of my babies started by a bad one and wonder if they will ever be fixed. It's enough to make me think about no longer breeding horses.



I am researching training as I need some advise. I am a green rider with a green horse. He (and I) have been in professional training for 6 mos. My horse will be 6 yrs old tomorrow. 20/20 hindsight reveals to me what my trainer was begging me not to do which was to buy a green horse. On the other hand, I got lucky and found a really nice one; even my trainer loves him.. Oh, I am 47 years old too. Like others, I am not made of money and moreover, my husband and I are looking to buy horse property to help with the cost (I know, I know - a big lifestyle change). Where we are looking, there are 1700 acres of trails and 7 rings for various disciplines for the sole use of the homeowners in the planned equestrian neighborhood. All great stuff! The issue is, that I am kind of scared to take my horse out of his environment and engage in training continuation myself. I am totally resisitant to selling him. I absolutely love my horse, but he is green afterall.. Here's my question. Is it reasonable for me to consider continuing his training myself (with guidence of course), or will his potenital be severely oppressed if he is not trained professionally. I guess the answer seems obvious, but I just wanted some feedback. THanks for your response! Liz



This is a tricky situation. The answer really depends on you. My first mare was purchased as a two year old and she was very green. At that point she was beyond my skill level and she was very aware of this fact. I took the horse on with the mindset that we would learn together. I did not ride my own horse for the first 6 months that I owned her. Well, thats not true... I should say that I did not ride her again after the first time for six months. Within a few minutes on her back I knew I was not ready for her. Over time I became a strong enough rider to ride through her young and green issues with confidence.

It is truly a great feeling when you get to that point. When you feel as though there is absolutely nothing up this horses sleeve that could phase you. Thats when real work can begin. They begin to focus on whats being asked because trying to get you off course is no longer fun. However, this was not without several victories on the mares side. She certainly made me work for it. I have been run away with, reared with and bucked many times before reaching this point.

I honestly feel that the real concern is your fear. If you are uncertain of your ability to ride the horse through the new situations which WILL arise, then it is very important that you have the guidance and assistance of someone who can. What I would hate to see is for something to happen which results in fear of riding your own horse.

If I was in your situation I would probably do both. I would try to find a trainer to help me on a part time basis as I could afford (maybe once a week?) and work at my pace between sessions.

There are several things you can do to prepare the horse on your own for the new things he might be apprehensive about. I would spend time just walking (beside him not on him) through the trails. Getting him used to the new sights, smells and sounds. I would do a tremendous amount of ground work, focusing on getting and keeping his attention and respect.

I would teach him new things very slowly making sure that nothing is more than a small step from what he already knows. If I walk up to you and ask you to swallow a big ball of string you will look at me like I'm crazy and say " I can't" and "I won't" Now If I take that same ball of string and break it up into small little pieces and give you one each day you will eventually swallow the entire thing with out any great hesitation.

There is nothing you can't accomplish with time, patience, and preparation. If you are mentally ready to ride through the bad things and you do your best to set your horse up to choose the right thing then I think you will do just fine. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Don't let the little things turn into big ones! Sometimes green horses are a blessing. They can be shaped and molded when in the right hands. They know no real fear or pain and have no reason not to trust you. You are lucky to have a situation where you can have him at your disposal each day. Take advantage of that time with him as much as possible and don't be in a rush. I am always happy to listen and offer my humble opinion:) Good Luck & Keep us up to date on how it goes with your baby.



Thanks Kelly. I really appreciate your response. It helps a lot. I have to say since my last post, I've had a 'substitute' trainer for a lesson who I have had before... She is tough but has pulled the best performance out of me to date and in doing so really beefs up my confidence. Moreover, she is intolerant of any pansy attitude that I may display and has laid down what is properly expected insasfar as gaining the respect of my horse. SHe pulls NO punches. I'm not sure if because I have come along a bit more since she trained me last that this time, I seem to have performed that much better under her guidance, but in any case, I feel like I can do this... My plan is to switch to her for a few months full time as I think she will push me and my horse a bit further perhaps in a bit less time so that I can be as prepared as possible for taking him home.. As it stands right now, we are still awaiting an offer on our house but have had our offer accepted on the horse property.. Thank you again for your support. One thing I don't want either is to be afraid of my horse. I aim to conquer! So far so good...


Is there any where to post a warning about bad trainers? It would be nice to know who the bad trainers are, so people don't have good horses ruinned.
Thanks, Pat


Wonderful information.

We've had horses for nearly 30 years, but learn every day that there is so much more to be learned.

Patience is probably the most important thing we have found the most effective in almost every situation.

Thanks for the great advice you are giving.


great tip..it's like anything you put your effort into, be patient and success will come to you.

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